The water data infrastructure in the United States is antiquated and increasingly inadequate for the 21st century. While water data have been collected by federal, state, and local agencies for decades, much of it is not open—meaning discoverable, accessible, and usable. Because of this, we are often unable to answer basic questions about our river basins and aquifers in a timely way, namely:
- How much water is there?
- What is its quality?
- How is it being used?
The Internet of Water (IoW) is a project currently housed at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, managed by a small startup team and supported by grants from several philanthropic organizations. By 2021, the IoW project aims to be a self-sustaining network managed by an independent organization.
The IoW envisions a world engaged in sustainable water resource management and stewardship enabled by open, shared, and integrated water data and information. The components of the IoW already exist (producers, hubs, and users), but the work of sharing and integrating data between them is not a primary mission for any of them. But the mission of the IoW is to build a dynamic and voluntary network of communities and institutions to facilitate the opening, sharing, and integration of water data and information.